Don’t miss God’s plan

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Old Testament Laws are like guiding lights/ bread crumbs/ a map/ a GPS. They were originally intended to bring the focus of the Israelites to God and at the same time serve as a guide to show His power in their lives to the rest of the world. Knowing that sin kept all people from fulfilling the laws God became man and a sinless sacrifice so that love could succeed where the law had failed. Mercy could succeed where judgement fails. Many people miss the point of Jesus and continue attempting to please God in obedience to law. They use the law as a tool to learn about God and try and grow in Him. They miss the opportunity to be filled with His spirit in complete intimacy as a conduit of His power. Focusing on the law will cause you to miss God’s desire which is to live in your heart and allow you to shine His light to this dark world. Keeping your eyes on the Map/ GPS God gave people in the Old Testament will cause you to miss the destination God gave us through Christ, His Spirit!

Until We Pray

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Many people neglect prayer under the assumption that God’s Will is done regardless. While this is true I’d like people to realize that our God is a God of blessing. We have to have fellowship with God in the form of prayer. We will never be able to tell Him anything He doesn’t know, or has not known since before time. Prayer does not inform God of your desire or needs. Prayer is Praise. Prayer is a believer expressing dependence and obedience.  God’s plan far surpasses our imaginations of what happiness looks like. God is Joy. Joy doesn’t vary based on emotion like happiness. Joy is a choice and can only be found in submission to our Creator. Don’t pray to God like He needs to hear anything from you. Pray to God like you need everything from Him! God has blessing upon blessing waiting for us to ask.

Our God does all things for His Glory! He is willing to give His children all the things of the world, in fact – He did! He was willing to come to earth and die in order that we might know Him and be reconciled to Him. God does not choose to blindly throw blessing to all of His children. He wants our recognition that He is the source of all blessing. He wants us to recognize that we are only able to mature our spirit as co-laborers, yoked to our Savior. God is the source of all that is good. He just asks that your eyes are toward Him as the source and your prayers are many, as a reflection of your heart.

Fruits of the Spirit (Joy)

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  • Joy

Happiness is conditional, joy is not. Joy comes from the realization that you are a child of God. You are able to be thankful in the good times and the bad. The good times are a gift for your enjoyment and the hard times are gifts for our sanctification. Joy is being content as you walk in the spirit and reject the temptations and deeds of the flesh. It is the satisfaction of having God and at the same time pursuing Him into the richness and righteousness of the Holy Spirit. (James 5:13) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Joy is found when are eyes are always on God.

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Fruits of the Spirit (Intro)

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Galatians 5: 22-23

 NIV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

KJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

  NIV KJV ESV
1 Love Love Love
2 Joy Joy Joy
3 Peace Peace Peace
4 Forbearance Longsuffering Patience
5 Kindness Gentleness Kindness
6 Goodness Goodness Goodness
7 Faithfulness Faith Faithfulness
8 Gentleness Meekness Gentleness
9 Self-control Temperance Self-control

 Before Jesus is crucified He tells His disciples that: (John 14:15-17)   “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:25-26) “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

God tells His people: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant… I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and teach his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”(Jeremiah 31:31-34)

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 God gave us His Holy Spirit so that He may be written on our hearts, and that we may be filled as vessels created by God. When we allow God to lead our lives through the guidance of the Holy Spirit a change takes place within us. We begin a process of change which focuses on Jesus Christ and becoming like Him. This process is called sanctification, and is only possible with the help of God through the Holy Spirit. The indwelling (planting) of the Holy Spirit (seed) causes us to mature (grow) and show the qualities of our savior Jesus (produce fruit). These qualities are an absolute depiction of God incarnate, His word made flesh. These qualities are what the work of the Spirit should become in a mature believer. When the word of God spells out the qualities He desires from the indwelling of His Spirit, we as believers must take notice and strive with the help of the Holy Spirit to become a fruit bearing disciple. If we imagine the fruits as colors, they create a rainbow that is Heaven. All of these qualities existing in all people is exactly what Heaven will be. A world of people made exactly in God’s image. Let’s take a look at each of the fruits given by God Himself to discover the depth of His desire for us.

Conclusion to The Beatitudes

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In the Sermon on the Plain Jesus again speaks of the contrast between the life of this world and the life that awaits those you live a life in His light. People who find this life to be one of absolute pleasure and happiness are receiving the rewards of this world as opposed to the infinitely better reward that is promised to those who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

(Luke 6:20-26)

20b “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

 

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

 

21b “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

25b “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

 

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

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There is a great deal of danger in losing sight of the ultimate prize found only in God through Jesus. The pleasure of this world is nothing in comparison to the place God has made for His people. Stepping back from the reward of heaven I like to sit and think about how a life lead by Jesus Christ is a better life in general. Even without the reward of paradise the blessing we have the opportunity to be to this fallen world is right in front of us. How much more satisfying is it to give happiness to someone that needs your help? How wonderful is it to give a part of yourself to people knowing that will make an impact that stands the test of time? Imagine the legacy that all of us are capable of leaving if we use our time on this earth to shine as much light on this darkness as we possibly can. What joy is there in blending in? I feel that when people can’t understand why I’m not angry when people persecute me, or I give away gifts the Lord has blessed me with in excess of what I need; they are seeing me reflect the light of my savior to this world. The harder it is to shine the harder we must persevere. Darkness is the absence of light. If we allow our light s to dim in adversity the darkness will take over. In the end Jesus has already claimed victory at the cross. I’m here as a Christian soldier to represent my God who saved me from this darkness and adopted me as His child of light. In the end, representing God and my salvation is being a living version of the Beatitudes, a living version of my savior Jesus Christ.

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The Beatitudes (8)

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10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

It is inevitable that a life in Jesus Christ will not be easy as the world looks to destroy the things they do not understand. A world full of hardened hearts who groan as they are overtaken by sin look upon the faithful with contempt and hatred. The deceiver works in those people to cause trouble in an attempt to destroy faith. The easiest way to persevere is to cover the light of God in you and blend in to avoid attacks. This decision will help you blend into the sin of the world while you slowly lose touch with God. Over time people of great faith find life uncomfortable and painful as a heart once filled with the Holy Spirit grows hard as it blends with the other hardened hearts. A life of persecution should be smiled on as you realize you are becoming “set apart” (holy) in Christ likeness. At the same time we can rejoice knowing that discomfort here proves that we are better prepared for eternity in our real home, for ours is the kingdom of heaven.

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(Romans 8:35) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

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The Beatitudes (7)

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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Peace is an expression of our relationship with God and with those He brings into our life. God will bring people into our life to guide and love us. People who need to see our reflection of His light and will grow through the Holy Spirit in us. As well as people who will test our faith and cause us pain in order to sanctify and refine us. God desires reconciliation among His people just like He desired to reconcile His people with their Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Those who strive for peace do the work of their father and grow as they become recognized as “sons of God.”

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(2 Corinthians 5:18-20) 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.